Talk About Cajun Tuning

Feb 06, 2016

Alright! Welcome. I’m gonna talk a little bit about what we call Cajun Tuning. And so what Cajun tuning is it’s one whole step down from standard tuning. So Standard tuning would be what we would tune a violin, from the little strings, E-A-D-G.

But because the C accordion is so popular in Cajun music we play a lot of songs in the key of C and G. The Cajun-style always calls for a droning or an open drone string. So it makes it easier if you tune the D down to an open C, and everything else down you know a whole step from thereon, a letter from there you could even say.

So the Cajun tuning the E is brought down to a D, the A is brought down to a G, the D is brought down to a C, and the G is brought down to an F. So it’s a lower tuning. So you can hear, if I play something…[1:11] and then this is a standard violin, it goes like…[1:17]

So you can hear the difference there. I like both and sometimes it’s really nice to play some of these Cajun tunes on a really bright sounding tuned-up fiddle. Now if you have a friend or somebody who has a D accordion it’s better off to stay in tune standard because that way you’re gonna have an open D string and an open A string and it will make it easier to play in those keys.

So there’s a lot of different tunings in the old days of Cajun music, not so much anymore. Most people just leave their fiddles tuned down or some fiddlers just play everything on a standard fiddle. Well, there’s a lot of fun tunings that you can do. Some of them are what we call cross tuning where you tune the strings D-G-D-G or E-A-E-A. So that can be a lot of fun, too.

So maybe what I’ll do I’ll just play a tune on all three. I’ll start with a tune on a tuned-down Cajun fiddle and again this is D-G-C-F. Alright! So I’ll just play a song…[2:35]

Alright! So that’s Cajun fiddle. So let’s try out a standard violin, and I’ll play a tune on there…[3:14]

So you can hear how bright it sounds. It’s really nice sounding.

So I do have a cross-tuned fiddle, let me get it, grab it, over here. We’ll play a tune from there. So there are a couple of great players in Cajun and Creole music that use this tuning and this is D-G-D-G, so it’s a cross tuning. One of the guys that I love so much was Bébé Carrière. He was a Creole fiddle player from Lawtell and he used this tuning for of his tunes that were just so awesome. It’s called “Blues a Bébé.” So it goes like this…[4:26]

So that is a lot of fun, too. But one last tuning that I really like, I’ve been messing around with lately, and what it is, is, if you take a standard fiddle and it’s tuned E-A-D-G if you take the G, the lowest string, and tune it a whole octave down from this D string, you get some interesting stuff…First thing is to just to try to get it in tune…Alright, so let’s see what we get with that…[6:29]

Alright! Crazy! So different tunings are a lot of fun, there’s a bunch more that I didn’t even talk about but I will try to break down some tunes in some different cross tunings. So keep checking the website, I’ll definitely post the tune with how to tune your fiddle to it and I’ll let you know that it is a cross tuning or a different kind of alternate tuning for the tune, alright. But it can be a lot of fun. It’s definitely important to learn to play in a lot of different keys on a standard violin and I think that if you’re learning that’s an important thing to start, is try to learn to play in most of the keys that you can on just a standard violin. That’s a good study all on its own.

And then when you do alternate tunings, it’s kind of crazy because it mixes up all the notes and the fingers so you kind of almost have to learn a tune in a cross tuning or a different kind of tuning to get it because it’s kind of difficult to just play a real standard tune that you know well in a cross tuning or an alternate tuning.

So good luck, have fun, and I’ll see you again with some more videos and hopefully some tunes with different tunings. Alright! Take care.

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